How I read work books

I won’t claim this is the best way, but this is the way that works for me, so here it goes.

I read a lot, in particular, I read a lot of books that I hope will make me better at my job. Reading is my preferred way of learning, and I have so much to learn, so reading a lot comes naturally.

At this point, my work brain is a wide pool of information that I barely remember, and that is hard to attribute, mixed with real life experiences collected through the years.

Therefore, it is important for me to take those vague recollections I have sometimes (I kind of remember reading something at some time in the past that could be valuable in this situation I am now) and find where those recollections come from. In a nutshell: I need to be able to fetch complete information, with attribution, from scattered details and vague recollections.

And that sounds like a great job for a computer 🙂

So this is how I process work books, in a way that I can fetch the information I need later on.

  1. I always read work books on Kindle. Yeah, I know, amazon, but it is easy for me to get my company to pay for books purchased there. Plus this thing where I live in two places and none at the same time does not lead to owning books on paper.
  2. I highlight a lot as I go reading. A lot. Too much. That’s fine, that will help later on.
  3. After I finish the book, I export the notes to markdown. On the kindle mobile app, I would just share the notes, email them to myself, and then using kindle-formatter , convert to markdown
  4. Move the converted markdown to a note in NotePlan, which, by the way, is where I run my work.

And that’s it. Nothing groundbreaking, but it works for me.

Now, whenever I vaguely remember reading about something somewhere, I would pull NotePlan, and do a search. That usually would be enough to point me to the right book, and at that point it’s just a matter of opening the book and finding the relevant quote/chapter I am looking for.


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